Not happy with Putin, but interested in his career
In the video posted on the Internet, FBK recalled that Vladimir Putin’s marriage with Lyudmila can hardly be considered successful. Even when Lieutenant Colonel Putin served in the German Democratic Republic, Lyudmila felt unhappy with him there. FBK quotes Ludmila’s correspondence with a German friend. The future first lady of Russia complained that she felt like her husband’s service staff sat late with their friends. And Lyudmila has to serve them food and drink.
A German friend, Irene Pietcsh, later described in the book that Ludmila accepted the challenge, that she spoke with her husband, that she wanted to do something more, would like to develop and have a hobby. But he ignored it. And when Lyudmila went to visit her friend, Putin had to tell her that a monument should be erected to her friend because she had promised to spend some time with his wife.
However, Putin cared about his wife’s material status. Irene Pietsch described that when Putin was already working in the government of St. Petersburg, Lyudmila often went to the coast in France and went skiing to Switzerland. Putin’s wife would spend huge amounts there on clothing, cosmetics and good restaurants. The extravagance was puzzling, because after the collapse of the USSR, Russia was plunged into a massive economic crisis and most Russians could barely make ends meet.
Pietsch’s memories show that Lyudmila was very interested in the development of her husband’s career. When Putin was offered the position of deputy spokesman for then-President Boris Yeltsin, Lyudmila would advise him against it, because she says it is difficult to find additional income in this position.
Humble Mr and Mrs Putins
When Vladimir Putin became president in 2000, he was rarely seen with the First Lady. Hidden in the shadows, she started a blog on the platform “Żiwyj Żurnał” under the pseudonym “Llenaa”. The researchers at FBK have no doubt that it belonged to Ludmila Putina, despite the fact that she was 10 years younger in the information about the author. Ludmila wrote on pseudo-psychological topics, among other things. The entries look like the author is a person who is just bored.
However, some comments went to politics. The responses were written in Putin’s typical backyard language. In FBK, they don’t rule out that the president wrote them.
Lyudmila lived at a high material level, she continued to travel to elite cities in Western Europe. However, the Russians had to think that the president and his wife lived as they did, that is, modestly. FBK recalled the 2010 TV material showing how the compatriots came to the presidential couple during the census. Viewers saw a modest room. There was an old TV set on a small dresser in the corner. Below that, on a lower shelf, is a VCR, which is no longer used by anyone in Russia. Vladimir and Lyudmila sat on an ordinary beige sofa, both in clothes the same color as the sofa, a bench in front of them, a small tablecloth on the sofa.
However, the Russians would see an exemplary living first family on television, living in conditions like most of them.
Television circus with divorce
Putin and Lyudmila decided to inform their compatriots that they would not split until 2013. A media circus was being prepared. On state television, it seemed that Vladimir and Lyudmila Putin went to the ballet performance “La Esmeralda”. In the theater, they noticed a group of journalists, so they decided to approach them. Journalists asked what they thought of the ballet. “Great,” Putin replied. “We sat and exchanged impressions,” he continued, pointing at Ludmila.
The highlight of the program was the “unexpected” question from the journalist: – You meet so rarely that you hear rumors that you no longer live together. That’s true?
“Yes, that’s true,” Putin replied. “It is our joint decision,” he added.
– I agree with the words of Vladimir Vladimirovich, it was really our joint decision. Our marriage is over. This is due to the fact that we practically do not see each other – clarifies Lyudmila.
Grandpa Tolstoy’s house as a gift to Ludmila
Preparations for divorce had begun many years earlier. FBK employees noticed that a few years ago the historic Wołkoński house in the center of Moscow, near the Kremlin, was destroyed. It is a large building from 1774 that belonged to the grandfather of the writer Leo Tolstoy. The writer himself often visited it, shooting various scenes in “War and Peace”. It is not easy to obtain permits for the reconstruction of such a building in the center of Moscow. However, the authorities deprived it of the status of an architectural monument.
The FBK investigation revealed that Lyudmila Putin was in charge of the Center for the Development of the Russian Language, which was set up especially for her in the Wołkoński House. The building was handed over by the mayor of Moscow and the presidential administration of Russia to the center, which is in practice Ludmile. However, in 2009, the Center for the Development of the Russian Language was changed to the Center for the Development of Interpersonal Communication. Officially, his duties include “creating the conditions for solving many important problems in Russian society” and “creating a friendly, psychological climate in the country”.
What does this mean in practice? FBK checked whether it concerned odds, for example for marzipan. The Center for the Development of Interpersonal Communication also offers courses such as “Attracting money into your life” or “Running with wolves. The original woman in all of us”.
The prices of the courses are not exorbitant, but that is not what the Center for Interpersonal Communication Development does. The organization is led by Ludmila Putina’s new husband, Artur Oczeretny. Her own company Meridian rents out rooms in Dom Wołkoński. And you have to spend a fortune to even rent a small office in this Moscow location. Dom Wołkoński is now an exclusive office building.
However, there is no shortage of people who want to rent. Therefore, the historic Wołkoński House was rebuilt and significantly enlarged. An additional building was built next to it. Ludmila Oczeretna’s company annually receives hundreds of millions of rubles for renting real estate, including 123 million rubles (9.1 million PLN) from its largest customer, VTB bank.
However, this is not all the income of Putin’s ex-wife and her new husband. It turns out that the Interpersonal Communication Development Center is a machine for making a huge amount of money, mainly state money. Serious companies and institutions feel obliged to support an organization that officially runs strange courses, usually offered by hoaxers. In the past three years alone, the Interpersonal Communication Development Center has received 175 million rubles (13 million PLN) from the Moscow government, 140 million rubles (10.5 million PLN) from Gazprombank and 100 million rubles (7.4 million PLN) from the company Siewierstal, from the oligarch Alexei Mordashov.
Luxury real estate in Europe
The money earned in Moscow is invested by the Oczeretni in real estate, including where Lyudmila went to the coast in the 90s and went skiing. The villa at Biarritz, a luxury holiday destination in France, was bought in 2013 for 5.3 million euros, six months after the announcement of Lyudmila’s divorce from Vladimir Putin.
Near the beach, not far from the villa that Putin’s daughter Katerina and his son-in-law Kirill Shamalov bought at the end of 2012 for 4.5 million euros, there is a 450 m² house with a jacuzzi on the roof. a billionaire and friend of the President Gennady Timchenko.
Ludmila and Artura’s neighbors told the authors of the FBK material that no one had come since February, when the Russian invasion of Ukraine began. On the gate leading to the property, someone painted a Ukrainian flag and the words “Fuck Putin”.
The Oczeretni are allowed to come to their property as they are not subject to sanctions by the European Union. Lyudmila was alone on the British sanctions list. Therefore, in winter they can ski in Davos, Switzerland, where Artur Oczeretny bought a 200-meter apartment in a block of flats in a fairytale mountain landscape, near a picturesque lake. He paid 3.5 million Swiss francs for this.
Putin’s ex-wife is Roman Catholic by education. He can chat in Spanish as he drives to one of his two apartments in Málaga. Less by area Artur Oczeretny bought more than 200 m² in 2011, when he was already in charge of the Interpersonal Communication Development Center and, according to FBK, was already a candidate for Ludmiła’s future husband. The starting price of this property is more than PLN 790 thousand. euros. In 2014, he bought a larger property nearby – more than 400 m², of which more than 200 m² is occupied by a terrace. It cost about 1.8 million euros.
The authors of the material on Putin’s ex-wife conclude that after the divorce she was overloaded with so much money that she does not know what to spend it on. So he invests in startups and buys Italian furniture. And they wonder why Russian society has given her a building in the center of Moscow “that will feed her all her life.”